Advancing Past Average: PISA’s Financial Literacy Assessment Shows United States Has a Long Way to Go

Advancing Past Average: PISA’s Financial Literacy Assessment Shows United States Has a Long Way to Go

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PISA's #finlit assessment shows US has long way to go. #PwC’s @ShannonSchuyler on advancing youth past average:

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Shannon Schuyler

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 2:05pm

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Average is not good enough.” I couldn’t agree more with that statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about financial literacy. Yet average is what the United States is, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) recently released financial literacy data. The PISA results show that, despite significant U.S. financial literacy programming, more than one in six U.S. students lacks baseline proficiency in financial literacy, and less than one in ten U.S. students is a top financial literacy performer. Our average performance places us well behind Shanghai, China; Australia; Estonia; Poland and Czech Republic, among others.

The release of PISA’s financial literacy data (an addition to established PISA assessments of reading, math and science) was a level-setting and thought-provoking milestone for financial education. Covering 29,000 students from 18 participating countries and economies, the survey provides an important baseline for financial literacy.

PISA’s study also brings financial capability to the forefront of the educational landscape and reflects a growing recognition that building financial capability is about more than teaching young people to make sound choices about money. Financial capability prepares students to apply what they know in practical ways so they can prosper in the real world. These are skills they’ll need for college and the workforce, and to become our future business leaders, entrepreneurs and consumers. Our communities and economy stand only to gain when our young people are better equipped to problem solve and think critically.

Pushing the U.S. past average to create a youth population and ultimately a workforce with the skills to weigh long- versus short-term outcomes, solve problems, and think critically and innovatively will require both expanding and improving existing efforts. At the PISA launch event, Andreas Schleicher, Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, said that “our economy rewards us for what we can do with what we know,” and I think this is an important insight. Based on the new data, the discussions at last month’s launch and PwC’s own experiences working to build financial capability, four key themes resonated with me to expand and increase the impact of financial education.

continuned on Huffington Post


Shannon Schuyler
+1 (312) 867-1164
CATEGORY: Education